Do you ever do things in a foreign country that you would never do at home? Well, here’s one for you!
Although we had never met our new realtor, I had seen his picture on his website. With not much more information than that, we hopped on a plane to Mexico. My mom and I arranged to meet him on the corner of 10th Ave and 10th Street at the appointed time and he would pick us up and take us to see the condo. So here we are, two gringo women, standing on a street corner, peering into white vehicles (every other vehicle in Mexico is white) looking for Rob Kinnon. Sure enough, he pulls over and we hop into a car with a complete stranger who we met on the internet in another country. The funny thing is, it didn’t feel dangerous at the time, it felt fun and exciting. Luckily, things worked out well and he was the “real deal”.
Rob took us to the condo, and while my mom flushed the toilets and flipped all the light switches, I stood outside on the balcony watching the most gorgeous tropical birds fly around the garden and knew I was in paradise. The condo itself was (and is) beautiful, but it was the ideal location that made us jump so fast. Walking distance to everything we could ever want, yet also secluded and private on the edge of the gated neighborhood of Playacar. I used Rob’s cell phone to call Mark back home and told him that I was signing a contract – just 3 days after receiving Rob’s original email! Sounds like the end of a perfect story, right? Uh huh.
I’m not sure what the total number of mistakes we made during this whole process was, but I can tell you, it’s a big number.
Before going any further, I guess I should say that, in spite of everything we went through, we couldn’t be happier now. This transaction started for us in May of 2008 with a sales contract. We assumed we would be closing in just a few months as we were paying cash. Easy-peezy, right? Not so much. In the end, two attorneys later, and many scary moments later, we were able to take possession of the condo in October (4 months later if you are counting), but it would take another 6 months before we would sign the big “Harry Potter book” in the notario’s office making things official.
1. We learned how little Spanish we really knew
2. We learned that the very things we love about Mexico when vacationing, are difficult to swallow when trying to conduct business (think laid back attitudes resulting in lots of “wasted” trips to Playa – but is that such a bad thing?)
3. We learned how to dial all kinds of phone numbers to and from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. even when a cell phone is involved.
4. We met some amazing people along the way and learned how to focus on the PERSON and not on their station in life. Ever notice how no one in Mexico asks you what you do for a living?
5. We learned that it takes 3 days to buy a mattress
6. We learned that there are two different lengths of King size mattresses
7. We learned that you cannot buy sheets in Mexico in plain colors, they all have designs on them
8. We learned how to draw the perfect map to our condo for furniture delivery people who speak no English
9. We learned how to hail a cab when we have lots of large items to take home (one of us must hide out of sight with the large items until the other person gets in the cab and holds it)
11. Most of all, we learned how warm and generous most Mexican people are when treated with respect.